Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet trip to Newark

After spending two days in my Toyota Camry, I figured why not spend a couple more? I was able to procure 4 tickets to Marquette's Sweet 16 game against UNC and was going to meet a few friends in Newark for the game. My buddy Adam Reed drove from Milwaukee and stayed at my house in Pittsburgh. We took off for Newark the next morning and after a 6 hour drive, got into Newark around 2:30. Never have I seen a more ridiculously complex and chaotic freeway system than there. Our hotel could only be accessed from the freeway, and only from the Southbound side, and exiting and turning around was no bargain either. Luckily we made some good guesses and got to the hotel without too much incident. Former roommate Brendan Lowd and friend Kate met up with us an hour later. We then took off for a pre-game Marquette event at the Brick City Bar and Grille next to the Prudential Center. There we joined a couple hundred fellow fans and alums in getting psyched up for the game. I ran into Tim Vetscher, who I watched all the Big East Tournament games with out in Phoenix, at the party and talked with him a little bit. Everyone was definitely optimistically hopeful about the day's game, and why wouldn't we be after how hard and masterfully the team played in the first two rounds?

We got to the arena and to our seats right before the tip. Kate and I received numerous comments on our jerseys (I had brought a pair of jerseys from 1984 that my mom had gotten from some team managers when they were getting rid of them. Herbert Harrison-43 and Donald Smolinski-4), along with some "Go Warriors!" comments. We won the opening tip and played tough for the first 5 minutes, even snagging an early 10-8 lead. The Marquette faithful were loud and proud. Yet, UNC's athleticism was apparent and their stifling man to man D was tough to break. It was difficult for our guys to even make numerous successful passes without difficulty. But they never gave up and played hard the whole game, even cutting the deficit in the 2nd half and giving us all something to cheer about, but UNC was just too much.

We then stayed for the second game as well, Ohio St vs Kentucky, and what a game that was. Definitely worth the ticket price just for that game alone. It was an exciting atmosphere though, and definitely worth the trip even though we lost. Adam and I would drive back to Pittsburgh the next morning, making it 4 straight days of 6+ driving hours for me.
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